As a follow-up to my post on Sotomayor and identity politics, I wanted to also link to this column from Charles Krauthammer. He articulates a few of my issues with identity politics and the SCOTUS much better than I could. If I had read this before posting this morning, I no doubt would have linked to it earlier.
Krauthammer addresses empathy in regards to every day life vs. the courthouse:
Empathy is a vital virtue to be exercised in private life — through charity, respect and loving kindness — and in the legislative life of a society where the consequences of any law matter greatly, which is why income taxes are progressive and safety nets are built for the poor and disadvantaged.
But all that stops at the courthouse door. Figuratively and literally, justice wears a blindfold. It cannot be a respecter of persons. Everyone must stand equally before the law, black or white, rich or poor, advantaged or not.
He goes on to articulate a political tactic regarding her confirmation that may help the hapless Republican party that I agree with.
Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds — consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama — that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.